Sunday, October 30

Women who save men, and what we all have to say about it.

The light on his face flickered with blue, red, and orange as the film played off in the distance of the dark theatre. He happened to be drunk (entirely his own doing) and inclined to whisper to her, at least during the first half of the show; those terrible whisperings of "Oh, he's going to open the cupboard!" and "He'll walk right into it this time!", even "Well, I nevah!" but there was once when she turned to find him a slimy creature with debauched features and an unhealthily red face; he said:

"I want to kissssyou. Rightnow. Come. Here." He coughed. "Love" was the last word he croaked before leering at her and leaning so far over on her side that he missed his armrest and landed halfway in her lap, awkward elbows and foul-smelling silent laughter.

She roughly shoved him back into his seat. The plot had just begun to get fairly thick, and he was being a nuisance. He might have gone to sleep, but nooooooo, he had to talk. Shame on her sense of pity. And compassion: he had been about to drive home when she found him in the parking lot. Ugh.

"No. I'm not kissing you. Be quiet." She pulled her jacket around her and leaned forward to avoid the smell of him, thankful they were nearly the only people in the cinema.

"Whyyyy not?" he said, spraying saliva over the chair in front of him. The hero of the movie tripped on a root in the middle of a major chase scene. Lame. What a dumb trick.

"Because you're Catholic." She realised what she said after she said it, not having given him a moment's thought. A giggle surfaced, then subsided as a dance scene began onscreen. "Ha haaaaaaa. I--I--ammm not!" he said, his voice breaking.

She shushed loudly, and then there was an intermission. She brought a refill of water in her empty soda cup, and he fell asleep during the second half. When they finally emerged from the stuffy theatre, the wind had picked up and the parking lot was dimly attended by orange lamps that reflected wearily off of dusty automobiles.

Driving home, the streets were cold and empty, glittering black, but eventually his roommate answered her knock at the door and shouldered him inside. The next time they met was outside the college coffee stand during a break in the middle of their Wednesday evening classes (about 1930).

"Sorry about that, the other night. I kinda remember you taking me home." He smiled in insincere apology.

"Yeah, sure." Nodding to the girl behind the counter (they'd share their Tues.-Thurs. morning class), she took off her gloves, stuffed them in a pocket, and reached for her hot chocolate on the counter. Without meaning to, she'd been a little cooler than was quite necessary.

"Well, hey--I didn't need your help. Don't act so . . . superior . . ." He'd lowered his dignity enough to apologize to her; she normally barely gave him the time of day, but he was gulping down a little pride! Shouldn't he get a little leeway? He re-shouldered his messenger bag and dropped his relaxed pose. Suddenly the breadth of his shoulders became important; so did those measly five inches that made him taller than her.

"Right. You were drunk and scratching up your car door trying to get the key in the lock . . . do you realise you were going to drive drunk?"

"I wouldn't have actually done it! I don't need to be . . . saved. I can take care of myself."

"Fine. I didn't do anything to try and save you." She scalded her tongue, and he dropped his notebook. "If you want to know, I wasn't thinking of you at all when I drove you home. My brother was killed by a drunk driver." Suddenly he became all sympathy, eyebrows creased and a concerned frown on his lips. "So think, why don't you? There are other people in the world besides you."

He thought of a few great comebacks and chewed on them; she was not his conscience, anyway. It wouldn't have happened that way; he never got into trouble when he was drunk.

She gave him an awed look, shook her head in disbelief. "I'm going back into class. See you around." He gave her an ambivalent nod, and turned back to the stairs he came from.

Saturday, October 29

Have I killed the albatross? (see also COLERIDGE; "Rime of the Ancient Mariner")

I have a love/hate relationship with the feeling I get when I sit down to write. First, I tend to either take in or shut out the things around me, highlight on the taste of my coffee and the look of what I've got on my desktop, put on some music, and then poise my fingers over the keyboard.

Sometimes I immediately have something begging to be written, and that is my favorite time (I don't have to feel like it's me writing--more of a channeling exercise, I guess.). Other times I will have to turn on a sort of mental light-switch, and then I can choose from a grab bag of things that want to be written about, but aren't willing to beg for it. Some of them aren't ready and take a bit of tweaking--alright, a LOT of editing.

The worst time is when I sit here at my keyboard aching to write something, and I can't. Nothing appropriate is ready to be written, and yet the high that I get off of finishing a piece (no matter how bad it is) is so addictive that I almost just want to do some sort of free-association stuff to get out SOMEthing. Then I feel guilty--was I supposed to try and force this? Am I feeding an addiction or writing something worth hearing? This is a blog, after all; not a journal. Journals are for mental experiments, the ones that don't need closure.

So a lot of the time I end up writing about writing, because I do a lot more thinking about writing than I do actually writing full-fledged stories (or even vignettes). I write down ideas on my grocery lists, and take down interesting words and names and concepts on coffee shop receipts (confession: I have a lot of these). Instead of writing fiction, I end up having the beginnings of an enormous grab-bag of ideas.

A grab bag of ideas is a marvelous thing, and I may say that it is much of the time a daydream I retire to during boring classes and dull but necessary social obligations. This is why sometimes I don't like to experience certain things, per se, but I do find them interesting. Ex. the Ramones: I don't like them, but they are interesting. Ex. human sacrifice: I want to know WHY, but I don't have to like it.

(There, now I have just compared the Ramones to human sacrifice. Hopefully, some of you didn't have to have that pointed out to you in order for you to laugh at it.)

So I'm stuck with a grab bag of ideas and nothing coherent to write. Brilliant.

You know what? I should totally take the idea of the literary quest and sieve a story into it, like those toys you have to push shapes through in the right holes. It would be child's play, but I'd understand a bit more, I think. Maybe put some of my own life into that form--I am utterly presumptuous that way, but there you have it.

Friday, October 28

Must . . . post . . .

Well, I've been thinking that I must have some kind of story running around in my head is willing to be told, but none of them are ready yet. Like half-baked bread, reluctant stories don't go down well. I really must have SOMEthing to be written . . . ! Am getting slightly fed up. I need to go do work, now. *sigh*

--SCA story idea
--venetian con man vignette
--vignette of medieval kitchen
--evening at the theatre postscript
--being late for a class in florence description
--medieval handmaid idea

You see, most of what I write is what I know. Who doesn't write what they know? Anyway, I am trying to find nice things to write about that don't frighten me out of my wits worrying if I will meet the right person to complete a certain vignette (because I'm not willing to try and copy the style of the person I was with at the time). It is rather a bothersome thing to try. So I guess I ought to get to work. Heh.

--rika

Tuesday, October 25

a list, so I won't forget

Things to remember for princesses in stories and out of stories. Remember, the former had maids.

        •        satin pillowcase
        •        make-up (foundation, eye-shadow)
        •        really nice lip gloss/chapstick
        •        really nice lotion
        •        nice razor
        •        slippers
        •        boar bristle brush
        •        mirror
        •        good hairbrush
        •        good hair decoration-thingies
        •        nail kit
        •        scrubby towel
        •        face mask stuff
        •        hair oil
        •        shampoo
        •        conditioner
        •        wide-toothed, no-seam comb
        •        nice bath things (salts, herbs, scented whatsits, pretty soaps, etc.)

My writing as a bit overly detail-oriented.

There's a certain satisfaction to writing details of actions. I like to know how people do things, the little quirks that mark the means to an end. One of the best examples I can think of for this one is to think of five people with the same recipe: they all come out with different-tasting things. It may be because of unique ingredients, or timing, or measurements, or tools, but the same recipe rarely comes out the same for two individual cooks. That is interesting.

So, if you wondered why my writing was getting a bit boring, it is because I keep wanting to write little things; the small details that make the difference. Only, it has taken me awhile to figure out nuances, so mostly all that comes out of my fingers is the routines/means themselves but not their individuality.

Monday, October 24

Getting back.

She put her luggage down, a neat collection of sturdy, easily-hauled pieces. She normally packed light, but she did some shopping this trip, and felt an odd sense of accomplishment in bringing new things to her rather shabby apartment. No, not shabby--just used. Lived in. It just seemed shabby after the glamour and flimsiness of the tourist world.

Straightening her back, she brushed her hair out of her face--somebody said it fell gracefully, once--and looked around the messy room, full of books and papers and things that should have been picked up before she left, but she didn't have the time or motivation, then, anyway. That would change, in a minute.

Over a cup-o-noodles (the kettle, too, was dusty), she contemplated her surroundings and then finished the last spoonful with a slurp. Nodding decidedly, she put on a cd of . . . well, classical wouldn't hurt. Vivaldi would do--that's what she heard at the concert, while she was away. Vivaldi's "Spring" played as she tidied the room, dusting, sweeping, mopping, replacing the armchair and curio where they stood near the window.

Another check on her feeling of accomplishment: she unpacked her bags. Dirty things in the laundry, clean things back folded up, new clothes put in the wardrobe. A few small items went into a silk bag that held a few special things; a camisole embroidered by her great grandmother, some lingerie from the time everybody thought she was going to get married . . . ugh, better not dredge up that one. The silk bag retreated to a shelf in the back of the wardrobe (she knocked on the back of it, to make sure).

Alright, the apartment has got its makeover. She ran hot water and spent a leisurely time putting herself back together. She noticed oddly that her bathrobe was threadbare and her slippers uncomfortably dirty (she ended up putting on socks instead), but sat down at the vanity anyway, and opened a drawer of rarely used cosmetics. A few of them got tossed in the trash bin immediately, but she took the others out, for the color. Water dripped down the back of her toweled neck, making her shiver and she turned the light switch and compared the colors with her skin. The ones she liked got put neatly into her handbag.

Clean clothes, warm shirts--her jeans would have to spend another turn in the dryer . . . Vivaldi was on "Spring" again. Alright, there, she was dressed. Her hair was still wet, though, so she stepped onto the cold tile to put on the kettle again. May as well have a cup of tea (loose leaf, of course).

Hair dried, brushed, oiled, and put up; she put on her jacket and stepped out the door with her handbag, to buy new foundation, mascara, blush, lotion . . . maybe some new jewelry. Something had changed, in that trip. Something about traveling gave her a new feeling that something in her life quite had to change. Stand up straight, she told herself.

I'd love to feel this change when I come home, but really I just feel like I have so much to do and so little time to do it in (and so little fashion sense) that there is a determined fatalism in deciding to do anything but make myself a cup of tea and crawl into bed. Speaking of . . .

Saturday, October 15

Feeling the effects of caffeine for the first time in ages.

Wow. Well, I am shaky and have a slight headache, heart racing, and dizzy when I stand up. Whoa. This is so weird . . . I have coffee all the time, but I had an extra triple-shot today on account of two weeks' overdue class work . . . oh this is so bad for me. It JUST kicked in, and now I'm toast. I have to wake up tomorrow, too . . . *sigh*

I feel sick to my stomach. I haven't packed for my trip yet. So little time. Bah.

I think I might take my tunic along to Venice with me. Must sew things. Maybe I should take my embroidery instead, but it isn't mindless. Tunic is mindless. Maybe start the belt . . . Belt would be interesting to start. But would take too much preparation. Never mind that. Tunic or nothing.

Hate caffeine. Ugh.

Time to try again to focus on class work. Heh.

Thursday, October 13

Alright, that's it. I need a bagel.

Bagels are one of the things I miss about this place. Italians don't know how to do bagels. *sigh* Oh how I wish for a warm, actually TOASTed bagel with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onions, and real cream cheese! Or even butter.

Un caffe ristretto in cup, two ice cubes, milk, milk, milk, and straw.

Bagel half #1. From store: plain. Bad, in comparison with bagels of yore, but good in comparison with the concept of bagels in the negative. Add a garlic-herb spread with lots of fat in it.

Italian toaster is practically worthless. Bagel half #2 is frittering away its moistness as I type.

Bagel half #2. Much better toasted that #1 but still not up to par with nostalgia. Coffee bitter but not bad, though I like the Lavazza more than whatever this stuff is . . .

Why, you ask, am I frizzling away my morning blogging here, about nothing whatsoever?

Well, in Pythonite tones, I'll tell you . . .

(Oh, and I put Dumbledore's favourite flavor of jam on Bagel half #2.)

I like to write, and it's addictive. I almost can't help it. I did want to write some terribly personal and awfully judgmental things here, but that sort of stuff is like tabloids on the internet--wrong or outrageously true--and hurtful either way to the writer or the morbid listener. So I'm writing about bagels.

Putting on some Loreena McKennit music . . . I have a feeling I'll be listening to a lot of this in Venice. Venice seems to suit her, even if she doesn't suit Venice.

I've still got to pack, and I should probably look nice, too, which is a bummer. Of course, a sweatshirt and my jean jacket WILL make it in my luggage, but there are times when desperation calls for sweatshirts. They're not BAD for you.

Realise this: I've been trying to dress nicer, when I leave the house. I wear shoes other than my boots, and not always put a comfy sweater over my tshirt. I've worn heeled shoes and conventionally pretty shirts. Even wore make-up for the past week or so, consistently. Not once taken out my despised jean jacket that I love so much. Lots of compliments about how I look nice. Very nice, of course, but I don't like it, and it makes me uncomfortable to be on display. I'd much rather be indignant and comfortable. "So be that way!" I have heard. But then I get a double standard of words and expressions. Bah, it is better to change for a year and then be comfortable.

I'm actually a bit worried. If/when I do get to Ireland, on my own, it will be utterly different to live--on my own. I know my style will change, my habits and routines, my likes and dislikes--it will be a different world. (I'LL FINALLY GET TO HAVE LEBANESE FOOD! It is one of my favorites and Italy has none of it, tragically.) Better, I suppose, that I should have two sets of habits to fall back on just in case one of them doesn't work for a while. But I was so comfortable, there . . .

Of course, it isn't like Edinburgh, but then where else is? Maybe I can go to Scotland for a Ph.D. if they have something, and if the pound lightens a bit. In other words, when pigs fly. I don't know. I like Ireland a lot.

I watched Dear Frankie again last night, behind my work. I love the soundtrack, and the sound of the accents, and the comfortable knowledge that I like this movie. That means I've watched it three times in the past two weeks, which, bar LOTR and the last pre-HBP week of HP, is probably a record.

I'm not sure if I like the actors and actresses outside of the movie (Gerry Butler, though thoughtful and perceptive about the characters he portrays--he will play Beowulf!--has the mouth of a sailor. That isn't good, in my book. And Emily Mortimer, incredibly graceful and talented as she is, plays in Disney movies . . . ), but I don't know yet. That's nice, because I'm free to like it unconditionally, so far.

I like the character that Butler plays in Dear Frankie; he's introspective, gentle, and has an awesome accent, but he isn't all that realistic, based on the men I've known. What kind of a guy would be so emotionally touched--and show it? I don't know what else it is about the character that seems not quite realistic. Maybe a woman wrote the script:P

This is an incredibly long entry. Heh.

Well, I'm bringing moleskines to write in on the train and hopefully I will be able to sit and enjoy myself scribbling for a while. This journal will be different, as it won't be much a travel journal as a personal journal, with maybe some fiction thrown in. I've got empty places in my normal journal, too . . . shall be interesting to figure out how I'll work with it.

Also: last trip, I met a very writable man, who is sticking in my head as a character--I keep seeing him as a person in a story rather than a person I've met (which isn't very nice to him, but it is very interesting to me all the same). I can't imagine we'll ever meet again, and I sincerely doubt he'll ever read anything I write, so I wonder if it is quite safe to write him? Not in the Eleanor Lavish sense of danger--he wouldn't be victimized, just described as I saw him, which is subjective anyway. I'll give it a go one of these days and we'll see how it goes. I'd dearly like to write him in a first person narrative. It might make sense of a type of person I'm not used to understanding, and understanding people is always interesting and useful.

Right. We'll give it a go, and see how things work out. But I'm not telling you when I do write him, and maybe you will guess. If you do, you must tell me.

And I should go now, because I have a placement exam, two papers, and a textbook to read all today.